Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara announced that only Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) will give official response to the 2019/20 national budget statement when the House re-convene for general debate as tiny parties UTM and PP will not be making formal statements.
UTM and Peoples Party (PP) have four and five legislators in the House respectively while MCP is the main opposition party with over 50 MPs while the erstwhile ruling UDF has 10 representatives.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha presented the K1.731 trillion 2019/20 National Budget statement in Parliament on Monday.
The House has now gone into Cluster Committees to scrutinize the Budget from in line with Standing Order 137(2).
After Cluster Committee meetings, the House will re-convene on Tuesday September 24 2019 for general debate on the Budget.
Speaker said before the general debate, there will be responses by the opposition party spokespersons on finance.
“Therefore, according to Standing Order 190(1)(d), it will be MCP and UDF [who will give official responses from the opposition],” said the Speaker .
“Thereafter, it will be a response from the Chairperson of the Budget Committee, to be followed by reports by the Chairpersons of Cluster Committees, before the General Debate on the Budget,” Gotani-Hara added.
According to the Speaker, it is expected that the general debate will be concluded on Monday, October 7 2019 with a winding-up speech by Minister of Finance Mwanamvekha.
“Immediately after the winding-up speech, the House will go into a Committee of Supply, which is expected to be concluded by Wednesday, 9th October, 2019,” the Speaker said.
“From Thursday, 10th October, to Friday, 11th October, 2019 before adjournment Sine Die, the House will pass the Appropriation Bill and also consider the remaining business on the Order Paper,” she added.
Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa confrmed that the announcement by the Speaker is “a true reflection” of what transpired during the Business Committee meeting of parliament.
Acting leader of opposition, Lobin Lowe of MCP also said what the Speaker communicated is “exactly” what transpired during the business committee meeting.
And UDF’s leader in the House, Lilian Patel also confirmed that is the position of Business Committee.
Meanwhile, , Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Chikumbutso Kalilombe described the budget as balanced, observing that some issues that were suggested during consultations have been taken on board.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :